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Letters to the Editor

The magazine of the first law

school in the Pacific Northwest



fundamental question of what a legal education is meant to do for students. If one has the courage to address the last category, a series of questions then presents itself regarding the interests that law serves, the way one understands law’s fundamental categories and ambitions, and the relationship of some of these issues to the school’s responsibility (or not) to assure its graduates have quality job offers at the end of three or four years.

The New Normal

Dear Editor: The stories in the Spring 2012 issue describing the various new venues of work for WUCL graduates are inspiring tales of ingenuity, persistence and intelligence. They show that our students are resourceful, as well as smart, as they face an uncertain future. The refreshing emphasis on student initiative invites consideration of the larger question of whether and how the law school has reconsidered its mission and curriculum given many fundamental changes of late in the legal profession. That is, if students are redefining themselves based on new economic and social realities, is the law school, likewise, trying to do the same? To that end, I think this is a propitious moment to ask the question of what is taught and how one even thinks about legal education. With respect to this task, one can just reaffirm the status quo, a “quo” that has been “statusing” for about 140 years, with minor changes around the edges. Or, one can suggest and implement largely cosmetic changes, such as beefing up offerings in health law, financial law and other growing areas of an otherwise anemic economy. One also can ask the more

As in most things in life, it is the experience of those “on the ground” that ought to shape the way that those removed from the daily challenges of finding jobs consider what they are doing. Thus, in the final analysis, the praiseworthy efforts of WUCL graduates should encourage those more in the center of legal education to consider whether they have ears to hear what is being said to us by our students.

We welcome your letters and comments. Please address all correspondence about the stories in the Lawyer to editor Lisa Grace Lednicer at: Or send a letter to Willamette University College of Law, 245 Winter St. SE, Salem, OR. Or call 503-370-6760. Submit information for Class Action to Cathy McCann Gaskin, associate director of alumni relations. She can be reached at 503-370-6492 or Print or type all submissions. Submission dates are Jan. 15 for the spring issue and July 15 for the fall issue.

William R. Long JD’00 WUCL visiting professor, 2003–06

Dear Editor: Thank you for featuring my historical fiction novel, “Sun-Painted Man,” in your Spring 2012 edition. The beautiful silver-embossed frame for the painting was designed in 2005 by the late Thomas A. Blackweasel (Gray Horse Rider), a revered, full-blood Blackfeet Elder. A widely respected Native historian, orthographer and linguist of the Blackfeet language, this good man’s guidance with the Blackfeet language and cultural issues proved invaluable. The icons depicted in this traditional Blackfeet frame give witness to the suffering and survival of the Blackfeet people. In designing this frame, Blackweasel has left a lasting tribute to the Blackfeet people and ancestors, embodying the values held dear by the Blackfeet Nation and which are found in the story: hope, faith and love. Philip F. Schuster II JD’72

Detail of the silverembossed frame that holds the painting given to Christian Schuster, greatuncle of Phil Schuster.

Fall 2012 | 5

Willamette Lawyer | Fall 2012 Vol. XII, No. 2